The Governor Rotimi Akeredolu-led administration of Ondo State has called for the arrest of Fulani herdsmen parading themselves as vigilantes in the state.
This is following a post by a legal practitioner, Mr Kayode Ajulo, which went viral, about some suspected Fulani herdsmen mounting roadblock in Ondo State.
Ajulo in the post on social media stated that “They (herdsmen) are already mounting highways with guns openly doing ‘security work’ and they have direct phone lines with the neighbouring police stations confirming they are legitimate.”
“A few days ago I condemned the mounting of roadblocks in the South-East by these Fulani Vigilante. Unknown to me, they are already in the South-West. They even showed me their identity cards.”
Reacting in a statement by the State Commissioner of Information, Donald Ojogo, the Ondo govt denied knowledge of the activities of the group.
The statement read, “The Ondo State Government observes with concern trending pictures of an identity card carrying men identified as Fulani vigilante in the Akoko area of the state. Various claims have been as regards the activities, duties as well as supposed mandate of these men in question.
“It is pertinent to recall that at the height of the incessant kidnap cases, the Ondo State Government took some far-reaching drastic measures which included a marching order to the law-abiding Hausa/Fulani leadership in the area to fish out criminal elements among them who took advantage of the rosy relationship between the indigenes and their law-abiding guests.
“As a measure to curb and possibly, stamp out cases of kidnap in the area, the Hausa Fulani leadership was directed to select a handful of trusted men amongst them who could serve as tour guides in the thick forest as security agencies prepared to comb the forests. This measure yielded results.
“It is important to note however, that while Government appreciates the efforts of those who volunteered to provide information and served as tour guides to the security agencies in the ongoing operations in the area, it will not tolerate any unauthorized move by any group to take an undue advantage of the current state of insecurity in the country.
“Succinctly, government, having been unaware of any such identity card carrying persons in the name of a vigilante group, has directed security agencies to get to the root of the matter and apprehend any such person or group of persons operating in that manner.”